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Amartya Sen

November 17, 2010

Amartya SenAmartya SenFamous Economist and Nobel Laureate
Prof. Amartya Kumar Sen is one of the greatest intellectuals and economists of modern India. Amartya Sen is a philosopher, economist and a social thinker. At a time when the world was talking of globalization, liberalization and free market economy, Prof. Sen dared to differ. No wonder, he was awarded the Noble prize for welfare economics in the face of market oriented economics. Instead of the growth oriented economic path to prosperity, Amartya Sen has emphasized the need for giving a human face to development.

Why Is He Famous?
Amartya Kumar Sen is an economist best known for his work on famine, Human development theory, welfare economics, and the underlying causes of poverty and hunger. When the world was talking of free market economy, Prof. Sen emphasised the need for giving a human face to development. Amartya Sen is one of those few economists who talk of political economy of hunger. He received The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences( Noble prize for economics), in memory of Alfred Nobel, for his work in mathematical economics in 1998. The government of India awarded him with the highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in 1999.

Sen’s best-known work is Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, in which he established that famine occurs not from a lack of food, but from inequalities built into mechanisms for distributing food. In addition to his important work on the causes of famines, Sen’s work in the field of development economics has had considerable influence in the formulation of the Human Development Report , published by the United Nations Development Program. The HDI ranks countries on a variety of economic and social indicators. Amartya Amartya Sen’s other works are- “Choice of Techniques”, “Collective Choice and Social Welfare”, “Poverty and Famines”, “Development as Freedom” etc.

Background

Amartya Kumar Sen was born on 3rd November 1933 at Shantiniketan, West Bengal. He received his initial education at Shantiniketan and then Presidency College, Calcutta. In his early childhood he was exposed to the plight of the poor. The sight of people dying during famine shocked him. It was, perhaps, this shocking experience that made him study the economic mechanism underlying famines and poverty. Sen first studied in India before moving to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he earned a BA in 1956 and then a Ph.D. in 1959. He has taught economics at Calcutta, Delhi School Of Economics (1963-71), Oxford, Harvard and was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, between 1997 and 2004.

Present Position
In January 2004, Prof. Amartya Sen returned to Harvard, where he currently teaches. With the Noble prize, Prof. Sen is now more determined about his old obsessions like literacy, basic health care and gender equity specifically in India and Bangladesh. He has set up the Pratichi Trust, with a part of the prize money, to take forward his work.

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